Mountaineers mingled with the Minister for Sport and other MPs at a BMC drinks reception in Manchester last night (Sunday 24 September). The energetic event, held on the eve of the Labour Party conference, gave a valuable opportunity to raise awareness within Parliament.Richard Caborn, the Minister for Sport, came to the reception straight from a British Olympic Association meeting and spoke enthusiastically about the benefits of climbing activities for kids. He spoke of the need to develop climbing and mountaineering in a sustainable way. He also highlighted the opportunities for the BMC to work in conjunction with the School Sports Partnership and invited the BMC to meet with him in London to follow up discussions.   ?My door is open. The challenge to the BMC is to have a very clear plan of what you want and what you can deliver? said Mr Caborn.   BMC President Dr Charles Clarke and Sir Chris Bonington also delivered speeches, which captured the breadth and spirit of mountaineering and illustrated the important contribution it makes to society ? including health benefits, contribution to rural and urban economies, national achievement and life long participation.   A question and answer session allowed some of Britain?s top climbers and representatives from the mountaineering community to quiz the Minister about the government?s support for their sport. With over 130 sports in his remit, the event ensured climbing and mountaineering were at the top of the Minister?s thoughts.   Other Labour MPs in attendance were Angela Smith (Sheffield Hillsborough), Alun Michael (Cardiff South & Penarth), Tony Cunningham (Workington) and John Mann (Bassetlaw) who is the parliamentary representative for mountaineering.   It?s the first time that the BMC has held an event of this kind and the BMC is delighted it has helped to foster links and open doors within Government. planetFear´s Shane Ohly attended the event and gave this insight; ?At a time when the BMC is having it?s funding cut and financial support for expeditions is looking impossible beyond 2007, it was impressive that the BMC could organise an event with so many MPs and the Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn attending. However, Richard Caborn has put the onus firmly on the BMC to come up with a plan that supports the government?s agenda. Namely, encourage participation from inner city kids?Selling this to the BMC membership would certainly be a challenge. ———————————————————————– If you have any news worth reporting please contact Matt – matt@planetfear.com / 0114 2969114 ———————————————————————–